Brandon S. Peters, Esquire
Insurance Claim Denials - Homeowner's Insurance (Wind)
This week, we’re going to review homeowners insurance claims arising from wind damage to your house. Because Florida insurance carriers are permitted to sell homeowners policies without wind coverage, it's important to double check your policy to make sure that you will be adequately insured in the event of a loss. Wind coverage is often required by mortgage lenders.
After you submit your claim, the carrier will review it to determine whether or not wind caused damage to your home. There are four main reasons why wind damage claims are denied:
Normal Wear & Tear: Sometimes a carrier will deny a claim on the basis that the damage reflects normal wear and tear. Therefore, prior to any storm, it's important to take interior and exterior photos of your property from a variety of angles that show its state of repair. Submitting those pictures with photos of the storm damage helps identify the damage resulting from wind.
Timelines: All policies specify a deadline for filing your claim and the methods by which it may be filed. Failing to submit your claim correctly can result in a denial.
Improper Construction: Sometimes homeowners insurers will deny a wind claim based on the assertion that the damage is the result of construction defects rather than storm winds. In those cases, the homeowners will often sue their own insurance company and their builder, its subcontractors and their architect. Homeowners' attorneys like the optics of the companies fighting in front of the jury over who is responsible for your property damage.
Deductible: Discounted insurance policy premiums usually come at a price - higher policy deductibles. In cases where the damage is merely cosmetic or minor, the claim adjuster may estimate the damage to be less than the deductible. It is important to remember, however, that major wind damage can be hidden from view and is only discoverable by a trained professional.
The time immediately after a major weather event is often chaotic. Storm victims face many challenges as they try to get back to normal. Hiring an attorney to help navigate the homeowners insurance claim process will reduce your stress and increase the likelihood of a more favorable outcome.
Hurricane season is just around the corner. If you haven’t added our number to your contacts, please do so today! (352) 226-5001